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E3 2017

Everything we expect to see from Xbox's E3 2017

Computex 2017

ASUS ZenBook Pro (2017) + ZenBook Flip S hands-on

What could've been

This is Microsoft’s original vision for the Lumia 950 series

All in on AI

Did Microsoft shift to an AI-focused strategy because of Google?

Clamshell vs. Kickstand

Surface Laptop vs. Surface Pro: Spec showdown and form factor wars

Windows Central Digital Offers

Break into a cybersecurity career with this $69 certification bundle!

Microsoft vs Dell

Quick comparison of the new Surface Pro and Dell's XPS 15

Both great devices

Does the new Surface Pro really edge out the cheaper Surface Pro 4?

All the apps

Hey you! Don’t forget about all of Windows Central’s apps.

Microsoft mixes up Beam

Microsoft's 'Beam' service is getting a rebrand, say hi to 'Mixer'

Star Wars hits the big 4-0

Celebrate Star Wars' birthday with these great gifts!

Pro vs. Laptop

Should you buy Microsoft's Surface Pro or Surface Laptop?

Love/hate relationship

8 things you'll love about new Surface Pro – and 3 things you'll hate

Monkey see monkey do

Is Microsoft's Fluent Design a clone of Google's Material Design?

Surface FTW

Surface Pro beats iPad Pro in a tech spec comparison — by a mile

Cast your vote ...

Will you buy Microsoft's new Surface Pro? (poll)

The pinnacle of Surface

Why isn't the new Surface Pro named 'Surface Pro 5?'

Stay cool look cool

Introducing the new Windows Central 'Colors T-Shirt,' now ready to order!

Missing the future

Why Microsoft's new Surface Pro doesn't have a USB Type-C port

All new for 2017

Meet the new Microsoft Surface Pro!

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Pre-order: Surface Laptop | NEW Surface Pro


Office Lens for Windows Phone 8 is a beta app that lets you snap pictures of text and turn them into OneNote notes. Using OCR technology, Office Lens instantly recognizes text in documents, business cards, and even whiteboards, and then converts them into searchable electronic files. It is also one of the features that was listed as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK late last week.

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Handyscan from JDB Pocketware is a popular Windows Phone app that lets you scan, adjust, and share documents. Handyscan supports multiple page scans as well as Skydrive and Dropbox support for backing-up your images to the cloud.

Normally the ad-free, fully leaded version of Handyscan will run you $2.99. If you've been on the fence about Handyscan because of the price, we've got some good news. It's on sale.

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Now we're into 2013 we’re seeing the updates for apps come in once more, today we got an update for the excellent eBay app, Redlaser.

Redlaser has been doing good service on Windows Phone for some time now and with the latest update we arrive at version 2.1. As well as the usual bug fixes and such they have added in the ability to search with your voice.

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Windows Phone App Review: ScanBizCards

Deal with a lot of business cards from associates, customers, and other contacts? Looking for an easy way to import all that information on to your Windows Phone? If so, take a look at ScanBizCards. Not only will ScanBizCards let you scan business cards but you also have the ability for cloud backup and syncing your cards across multiple platforms (support for iOS, Android and a desktop client).

With support for twenty two languages and the ability to import information into your People's Hub, ScanBizCards definitely sounds promising.

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We previously took a sneak peek at the app Square (with a quick video demo), developed by Lawrence Gripper (the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app), Chris Sienkiewicz and Dave Crawford. Square is a photo and contact sharing app which uses QR codes allowing for seamless transfers to be carried out between platforms.  

One can download Square from the Marketplace for free. Check out (and "like") the Facebook page for more information and updates.

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Sharing is cool. We all love to share things, whether it be what we're currently up to on Twitter, or by publishing photos to Facebook from our Windows Phone, it walks hand-in-hand with being intrigued by what our friends are up to. Square, by Lawrence Gripper (the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app), Chris Sienkiewicz and Dave Crawford, is a new solution to contact and image sharing between platforms using QR codes. It's a fairly simple concept, but ingeniously executed.

Square will enable the user to grab an image from the Pictures Hub (providing choice of camera roll, SkyDrive or Facebook albums) and share it to another device with a generic QR code scanner. Not only that, but contacts on the Windows Phone can also be shared to another device with a scanner (and support for vCards). If you're one who detests carrying around business cards as much as I, Square also sports a contact card option for yourself (basically choosing "you" from your contact list to import your details), which can be pinned to the home screen for quick access and turns your contact information into a handy QR code (in vCard format).

Of course, the app wouldn't be complete without a scanner. Square comes kitted out with the tools to scan QR codes and import images and contacts. It all works flawlessly, and the UI (although there's not much depth) is simply gorgeous. When will we see Square on the Marketplace? In the next couple of weeks. To see the app in action, head on past the break for a quick demonstration.

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Perfect Scan now supports Google Docs and Dropbox

Perfect Scan has been on the Windows Phone Marketplace since late June and the developers have been quit busy with the updates. We've seen an increase in email size (bumped to 20mb) and support for Dropbox and Google Documents.

The most recent updates have fixed bugs and glitches associated with email export and Dropbox crashes for non-US regional settings.

Sending a scanned document to either source is easy. Just swipe over to the DropBox or Google Doc page in the Export Menu, enter your email/password and done.  We liked Perfect Scan (here's our review) and adding Dropbox and Google Docs options to the export menu only improves things.

There is a trial version available for Perfect Scan to let you try before buying and the full version is running $2.99. You can find Perfect Scan here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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AVG has been around for quite awhile and have recently entered the growing mobile space (we hear Android is gangbusters for a/v scanners). They've now released a free "suite" for Windows Phones, combining an earlier product (Safe Search) with an actual virus scanner:

"Free Security Suite from AVG Mobilation – security software for Windows Phone™. Keep your device safe with just one click"

  • Safe Web Surfing - Stay safe from phishing and malware while surfing the web
  • Safe Search - Allowing you search the web avoiding malicious web sites

In addition, the virus scanner portion will scan over your music and images. Surprisingly, the scan is pretty fast though we do have to wonder about other vulnerabilities such as PDFs, docx and of course programs. We imagine though when it comes to the latter, AVG can only do so much within the siloed limitations of the Windows Phone OS. So how much of a threat could there be from music or images? We're not too really to sure but we're more concerned about side-loading XAP files from untrusted sources--something which this app doesn't cover.

Still, for being free, it's not bad. It can update/download new AV definitions and the Safe Search/Web Surfing is not bad if you're worried about going to a malicious site. Worth the download? Perhaps--at 5MB, it sure won't kill your device and giving it once-over (under 30 secs for most of you) may not be a bad idea. Read more at and pick the app up here in the Marketplace.

Update: Rafael Rivera has broken down the app to see what exactly it does. As of now, since there are no known threats to WP7, it scans for EICAR (test file) and the word עברית (Hebrew) but has no generics capability, meaning there's very little that this will actually scan for.

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Perfect Scan - Review

Choices are limited with regards to document scanners for your Windows Phones. You've got HandyScan/Handyscan Lite and DocMe was around for some time but has apparently been pulled. To help fill the void, we can add Perfect Scan to the mix. Developed by Katana Labs, Perfect Scan offers multi-page document scans that can be edited, emailed, and searched.

There's really not much to Perfect Scan but what's there works nicely. To read more on Perfect Scan, slide on past the break.

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WorldCard Mobile for WP7

A carry over from our Windows Mobile days, WorldCard Mobile, has made the transition to Windows Phone 7. WorldCard Mobile for Windows Phone allows you to scan business cards with your phone's camera, dissect the information and create contacts from that information.

Additional features include:

  • Support business cards in five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish; with more to in the works
  • Auto entry of your contact info into your phone
  • Make phone calls, emailing, texting, looking up location on maps, visiting websites
  • Manage contacts with groups and in alphabetical order
  • Keyword search (full name, company name, email)
  • Browse business card images
  • Support for social networks such as Twitter and Facebook

WorldCard Mobile was a successful Windows Mobile app and based on the looks of things, it will be equally well received on the Windows Phone. If you want to get rid of those stacks of business cards or need an easier way to transfer the info to your Windows Phone, WorldCard is worth a try.

There is a free trial version of WorldCard Mobile available with the full version running $9.99. You can find both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Okay, this Bing Vision thing is really nice. Although augmented reality apps and one that scan are not new to the world (see Google Goggles), the way Microsoft does this on Bing is actually very elegant.

For one, we like how the overlay works when it finds what it's looking for. Just something really nice about the transparency and the items "floating" there. Second, the camera sensor works very well, even in low-light with little "re-adjustment" needed by the user. Barcodes read a bit better than CD cases or books, but even the latter should scan fine on a bookshelf in the store.

Finally, we also just like how it scans anything. You just point it at a CD, book or barcode and it just reads it. There's no settings, not select-format, it just works.

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Arcadia Scan Updated to 1.6

I've either fallen asleep when updating to 1.4 or they've mistaken 1.6 as 1.4 with the release notes, but the app itself is now 1.6 in the Marketplace. For a full rundown on what this app does and what tools it contains (including ping etc.) check out our Arcadia Scan review.

So what's new? According to the release notes (we'll go with that they're incorrectly titled for 1.4):

  • Addition of new content (3 new pages and features)
  • Added Scan-I, P, List of ports Info Device/User
  • Fixed several display bugs on ping and tracer functions
  • Virus-scan function associated with the new reworked database
  • Page displaying new properties is improved with multi-location, good visibility
  • In Credit and Help sections users can click on addresses or links
  • Ports listbox now displays correctly
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Arcadia Scan - Review

Arcadia Scan is one of those apps that you can use either to a) impress your mates, b) quickly check network connections (be it WiFi or 3G), or c) mess around for a few minutes when you’re utterly bored off your face (hopefully not on drugs). Unfortunately, before I continue, I must point out to you wannabe script-kiddies that this app is no ettercap.

Useful for simple network diagnostics Excellent for showing off your device Features some interesting functions
Horrible looking, should stick to plain Metro Default language is set to French Expensive for what's offered Main menu seems to be missing two options
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DocMe - Review

Document scanners can be a useful utility for your Windows Phone. We've already looked at HandyScan and now turn our sites towards DocMe. DocMe is a simple, straightforward document scanner developed by Amberlabs.

As with similar applications, DocMe uses your Windows Phone camera to capture images of documents and converts them into various file types. Additional integration with your Windows Phone camera includes DocMe being added to your phone's Share Menu. This allows you to take advantage of the camera's quick picture and then worry about uploading the image for conversion.

To see how well DocMe performed, just ease on past the break.

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One of the big limitations you may have noticed with apps like ShopSavvy or even Microsoft's own Tag app is that live-scanning of barcodes is not permitted--you have to snap a photo, which is then scanned before a look-up is performed. It is technically possible but Microsoft is not allowing developers access to the APIs necessary to implement--not yet at least. [Edit: Although LG does have a live scanner called 'ScanSearch' available on the Quantum and Optimus 7]

Sensboston, who's been doing lots of neat tricks for our new OS (e.g. flashlight), has managed to use the previously documented API to release a working scanner. Based on zxing library and Kevin Marshall's (from Clarity Consulting) code, the app works like other barcode scanners on other platforms: you turn it on, it live scans and gives results. The app works offline, can save info to email or SMS and searches for info using Bing or Google.

You'll need good light for it to work and the auto-focus seems to time out after about 15 seconds (save battery?) but overall, it works pretty darn well. Sensboston is looking to add features/improve the UI, so if you have any ideas, let him know in that thread. Looks like the hombrew scene is raging these days...

Source: XDA Forums; Update: Project is now open-source

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Handyscan - Review

JDB Pocketware is offering Handyscan for Windows Phone 7 over at the Marketplace. If you're looking for a nice, personal document scanner for your Windows Phone, Handyscan should make your short list.

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We've mentioned ShopSavvy before, the extremely popular barcode scanner app that is available on Android, the iPhone and Nokia and which is coming to Windows Phone 7 shortly.

The folks at 'Big in Japan', the developers of said app, have posted some screen shots of what the upcoming software looks like.

We have to admit, it looks pretty compelling being able to scan an item, search for the lowest price, read reviews and add to lists. Sound interesting? Head over to their site and sign up for the beta

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